On Wednesday, February 1st, the 2012 season of the Apollo Theater’s signature weekly live show, Amateur Night at the Apollo will kick into high gear, marking the 78th year of the world’s original amateur talent competition. Since its inception in 1934, Amateur Night has been one of New York City’s most popular live entertainment experiences, launching the careers of thousands of performers and attracting audiences from all over the world. The Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night has long been revered by artists as a transformative experience where up-and-coming talent feels the power of the legendary performers who have come before them, and where audience response can help make or break a career. In 2012, the Apollo will bring the Amateur Night experience to an even broader audience with the launch of Amateur Night Digital, which will enable users worldwide to track the progress and vote for their favorite Apollo Amateur Night contestants.
Hosted by comedian Capone, the opening night of Amateur Night 2012 will feature several surprises in celebration of the Theater’s 78th birthday as well as a special “dream” performance by the original Broadway Dreamgirl—Jennifer Holliday. This performance will be Ms. Holliday’s first performance at the legendary Theater. Dreamgirls, and Ms. Holliday by extension, are very closely connected with the Apollo—the opening scene in the musical took place at the Apollo and the period when Dreamgirls is set is an important chapter in the Apollo’s history. Also, the 2009 national tour of the musical premiered at the Apollo.
“This year’s Opening Night show is particularly special because we are introducing something really different and new to the Apollo audience with Amateur Night Online,” said Amateur Night producer Marion J. Caffey. “The new site will be interactive, allowing users to vote from home, extending the Apollo’s reach well beyond our own four walls. And we couldn’t be more excited to be showcasing the original Dreamgirl, Jennifer Holliday, who will surely be an inspiration to all our contestants and who will help us kick off our 78th season in style. This is going to be a great year for Amateur Night.”
Jennifer Holliday gained national recognition when she landed the lead in the Broadway musical Your Arms Too Short to Box with God. Her performance led to her star-making performance in Dreamgirls, and featured her show-stealing performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,“ which became a hit single in 1982. She returned to the stage in 1985, appearing in Sing, Mahalia, Sing, and Ms. Holliday continues to release pop music albums while on Broadway. For her Apollo debut, Ms. Holliday will perform “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.”
Amateur Night will feature staples like C.P. Lacey in the role of the “Executioner” (the character who sweeps “booed” contestants off the stage) and the Apollo’s Amateur Night house band, fronted by Onree Gill. Highlights of the season include: a pre-show jam fest led by one of New York’s hottest DJ’s, DJ Jess, and special themed night shows including Broadway Night on March 16th. The new season of Amateur Night will start Wednesday, February 1st at 7:30pm and will occur every Wednesday through October 2011.
For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org.